Fire watch with delight as playoff foes struggle for points

Dominic Oduro

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The Chicago Fire had a few results go their way Wednesday night, with fellow playoff contenders D.C. United and Chivas USA, and Portland and San Jose all tying, and New York losing in league action.

The results, which leave Chicago seven points behind the Timbers for the 10th and final playoff spot with six games remaining, gave some Fire players a welcome boost ahead of this Sunday’s must-win match against New England.

“I couldn’t believe how perfect it worked out for us,” Fire left back Gonzalo Segares told MLSsoccer.com. “With New York losing, and Portland and San Jose tying, and DC missing that last-minute penalty kick [to beat Chivas], it definitely helps to keep motivating us.

“I’ve said for a while that we’re still in the playoff hunt and this Sunday is now even a better opportunity that we can use to get closer and keep putting pressure on,” Segares added. “In the last push, anything can happen and these five or six teams that are all fighting for that last spot, it’s probably going to go to that last game. We still have an opportunity and right now we have to play our best this Sunday and keep putting pressure on the teams that are ahead of us.”

Fire forward Dominic Oduro agreed with Segares, saying that DC’s 2-2 tie with Chivas USA – a match that saw United attacker Dwayne De Rosario have a penalty kick saved in second-half stoppage time – pushed his belief to new heights.

“When DeRo missed the PK, [Fire goalie] Sean Johnson and I were really relieved,” Oduro said over the phone on Thursday. “They’re six points ahead of us right now and a win would’ve been eight, and it would’ve been really hard to catch up to them.”

Though they’re excited about Wednesday’s positive results, Segares and Oduro aren’t fooling themselves. They both know that Chicago needs wins and a couple more missteps by their rivals to get into the playoffs.

“We look at the table every day and we try to see where we’re at,” Oduro said. “But more than anything, we’ve got to do our part and win games and hopefully results like this will help us out and push us into the playoffs.”

Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at sam.h.stejskal@gmail.com